Discrimination Alive and Well in Academia
By Joseph Cotto
These days, discrimination in professional settings is so politically incorrect — if not illegal — that there is a better than even chance of it costing you your job.
This simple reality is championed with no greater zeal than by those in academia. Within the halls of our world's great institutions of higher learning, tolerance and acceptance of diverse viewpoints are blessed sacraments. For rules such as these, there could not possibly be an exception, right?
Discrimination is alive and well when it comes to post-secondary education. The target group consists of political conservatives.
A few years ago, Washington Times journalist Emily Esfahani Smith reported that psychologists from the Dutch Tilburg University "surveyed a roughly representative sample of academics and scholars in social psychology" and reached the following conclusion: "In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues."
When professors were asked "whether, in choosing between two equally qualified job candidates for one job opening, they would be inclined to vote for the more liberal candidate", over one third indicated that they would. It gets worse, though. One interviewee went so far as to state that if department members "could figure out who was a conservative, they would be sure not to hire them."
Sadly enough, college students are not spared from the bigotry, either.
Writing in The New York Sun, Paul Cantor, an English professor at the University of Virginia, said that "(i)f my students show conservative bias, I steer them away from the academy. They have no future — they will not get jobs."
He also mentioned that "English departments have been homogenized in the name of diversity" because "liberals feel underrepresented and marginalized in the country" and therefore "relish the position in the academy where they're in the overwhelming majority."
All of this is yet more proof that neither side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on fairness or equality. While the right might talk a good game about personal liberties — all the while crusading against full reproductive rights and the interests of non-heterosexuals — the left preaches about egalitarianism as it happily builds roadblocks for those who fail to meet ideological standards.
It's a twisted game. Stories like this are what make me so glad to be a realist. That, at least from my perspective, is the only way of recognizing the facts for what they are; not we want them to be.
Unless more people break free from the constraints of dogma, you can expect to hear about the perils of discrimination for long to come. Bad as such a thing is, it is downright catastrophic at educational institutions. The impressionable minds of young men and women can easily be warped to function as cogs in a machine.
When they are whipped into a herd by the power of groupthink, one can hardly understate the negative consequences.
"Political correctness and politics at large do play a role in college," economist-slash-blogger Aaron Clarey explained to me. He is the author of Worthless, a highly popular ebook which details the often overlooked and unmentioned pitfalls of college education.
"Primarily one of brainwashing, indoctrination and a means to employ worthless leftists who have no real tangible skill in the form of professors and college administrators," he continued. "But as for the socioeconomic value political correctness, if anything, harms the value of a degree in that it lessens the college experience and truly shuts down young people's minds."
Could any of us have stated that better ourselves? As with whether or not most college faculty will give self-styled conservatives a fair shake, this is a question which answers itself.
Copyright 2015 Joseph Cotto, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at email@example.com.
This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.
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